Frequently Asked Questions
How will Home Sleep Testing benefit my practice?
For starters, you will notice reduced paperwork and less interaction with insurance companies. Most insurers don’t require prior approval for Home Sleep Testing if the order is from the primary care physician. Your staff can save time by not having to obtain approvals for a specialist referral or in-lab sleep study. They will not have to go back and forth with insurance companies to justify the test, providing documentation, clinical notes, CMN’s, etc.
Home Sleep Testing allows faster results and interpretation by a boarded sleep doctor. Results are usually available in 3 – 5 days after the patient has completed their Home Sleep Testing and the boarded sleep physicians review each study making treatment recommendations or suggestions on how to proceed. Patients are usually tested and receiving treatment within a week compared to a several month delay with many in-lab sleep studies. This allows for patient retention within your practice, along with simple follow up if necessary under the guidance of a boarded sleep physician.
Most important of all, Home Sleep Testing makes for happier patients. People like being able to sleep in their own bed and in an environment in which they are accustomed. Not to mention, nobody wants someone watching over them while they sleep. Patients with high deductibles and co-pays appreciate the low cost this option provides in these harsh economic conditions. Older patients appreciate not having to drive in the dark and go to some unfamiliar place to sleep.
How reliable is Home Sleep Testing technology?
The technology for Home Sleep Testing has been available for over twenty years. It has been effectively utilized in Europe, Canada, and Australia to substantially lower healthcare costs. Technological improvements in the last several years have made it even more reliable including simpler set up procedures for the patient and faster sampling rates on the oximetry channels. For more information on home sleep technology please refer to American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
How do I perform the Clinical assessment?
OSA risk can be determined in one of three ways:
- Patient can complete the Berlin Questionaire
- Patient can complete the Sleep Epworth Exam
- Ask the patient the five OSA screening questions:
- Do you snore?
- Do you have hypertension?
- Are you excessively tired during the day?
- Have you been told that you stop breathing during sleep?
- Is your neck size greater than 17 inches (Male) or 16 inches (Female)?
If the patient answers “Yes” to at least two questions then they are candidates for Home Sleep Testing. The physician should perform a cardiopulmonary assessment to rule out disorders such as CHF and COPD, examine the airway for enlarged tonsils, obvious asymmetries or blockage of the nasal passages and document your results in the patient’s chart.
Does Insurance pay for the Test?
CMS approved coverage in 2008. Most insurance companies have already followed suit, but there are a few stragglers that are trying to catch up. We have been in talks with the few that do not cover Home Sleep Testing and most of them have it on their agenda, but are still trying to adjust to some of the other changes in the healthcare system and it hasn’t quite made it to the top of the list.